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Behavioral Interviews

behavioral interview
This is a technique that has been adopted by more than half of on-campus recruiters. This type of interview is different, and takes special preparation and skill to perform well. The behavioral interview is based on the premise that the best way to predict future behavior is to determine and evaluate past behavior.

The behavioral job interview is based on the theory that past performance is the best indicator of future behavior, and uses questions that probe specific past behaviors, such as: "tell me about a time where you confronted an unexpected problem," "tell me about an experience when you failed to achieve a goal," and "give me a specific example of a time when you managed several projects at once." Job-seekers need to prepare for these interviews by recalling scenarios that fit the various types of behavioral interviewing questions. Recent college grads with little work experience should focus on class projects and group situations that might lend themselves to these types of questions. Hobbies and volunteer work also might provide examples you could use.

Behavioral Interviews differ from Traditional Interviews in very unique ways. Here are some differences:

  • Instead of asking how you would behave in a situation, most often the interviewer will ask you how you did behave in a specific situation.
  • Expect the interviewer to ask probing-type questions.
  • The interviewer may ask you to provide details that will not allow you to theorize or generalize about several events.
  • The interview will be more structured and concentrate on areas important to the interviewer rather than you.
  • You may not get a chance to deliver prepared stories.
  • Most often the behavioral interviewer has been trained to objectively collect and evaluate information regarding you. Most information that is obtained in the behavioral interview is done to get a profile of desired behaviors.

starThe acronym “STAR” provides a guide for formulating answers for  behavioral questions.

S - Describe the situation in which you were involved.

T - Describe the task to be performed.

A - What was your approach to the problem?

R - What were the results of your actions?

1. Analyze the position for which you are applying and identify the critical capabilities.

2. Take inventory of your critical capabilities. Do any match? If so, can you remember a time when you demonstrated the use of any of these capabilities?

3. Formulate STAR answers based on the two to three critical capabilities that match the position.

4. Be prepared to provide examples of when results didn't turn out as you planned. The interviewer may be interested in HOW you overcame obstacles. Focus on what you learned from the experience.

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